The town of Lewes got its start back in 1631 when a little more than two-dozen men from Holland sailed to the New World to establish a whale-oil colony along the western shores of the Delaware Bay. As the fort of Swanendael, or Valley of the Swans, was centralized, a misunderstanding between the colonists and the native people led to the fort's destruction and the colonists' massacre. Given the initial colonization of Swanendael, this allows Lewes to lay claim to being "the First Town in the First State."
By 1682, William Penn was granted the three lower counties that now make up Delaware as part of his Pennsylvania territory. Penn decided to name the southernmost county for Sussex, England, his home province, and renamed Deale as Lewes after the port city in Sussex, England.
The town thrived as people arrived and merchants set up shop over the years. Churches and a courthouse were built as the town grew and became a busy port where ships would restock supplies. Lewes also served as the seat of Sussex County until 1791 when the government was relocated to Georgetown, a more central location.
By the 1960s, the menhaden business bottomed out. The fish that had produced an industry disappeared and the companies that relied on it had moved on. The loss of that industry, as well as a clam factory, marked a monumental change for Lewes.
From 1990 to 2000, nearly 700 additional full-time residents settled in to make Lewes their new home. The population, according to the 2000 census, came in at a little more than 2,900 people.
With nearly four centuries of history, Lewes has been transformed from a community of whalers and fishermen to one that is equally dependent on the sea, but in a much different way. Tourism has helped fuel a 20-year growth spurt in Lewes. Picturesque beach homes have replaced quaint cottages amid the sand dunes, and hardware stores and mom-and-pop stores have made way for bistros and boutiques. The new wave of residents has come seeking a slower paced lifestyle, lower taxes, and the lack of urban crime.
Lewes also remains an east coast port of call and is home to a large fleet of charter fishing boats. It is likewise the base of the Delaware Bay and River Pilots Association, whose members guide cargo vessels to and from the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. Lewes is also the site of the University of Delaware College of Marine Studies and is the southern terminal for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
Played much like that TV Game Show Family Feud (R) – This game show is perfect for everyone, requires no memorization or Master’s Degree, and there are NO WRONG ANSWERS. It’s almost the anti-trivia for folks who don’t like to think that hard. Join us, every Monday from 7pm-9pm (registration starts at 6:30 pm), for a fun time with food and drink specials.
The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs presents a tour that explores the 18th-century history, artifacts and surviving hull section of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak, a British warship that was escorting and protecting a convoy of merchant ships en route to the United States when it was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. Tours take place both on Thursday mornings and on selected Saturday evenings. Thursday tours will take place at 9 a.m. on the following dates: June 14, 21 and 28; July 5, 12, 19 and 26; Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; and Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27. Saturday tours will take place at 5 p.m. on June 30, July 28 and Aug. 25. Tours begin at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., where a lecture on the ship will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” Participants will learn about the history, crew, and sinking of the DeBraak through a guided presentation and display of actual artifacts. Attendees will then be transported, via van, to the DeBraak conservation facility for interpretation and viewing of the ship’s surviving hull section. Each tour lasts approximately two hours. Tickets are available at the Zwaanendael Museum. Admission is $10 per person (cash or check only). For reservations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 302-645-1148. Tours are restricted to individuals age 10 and up with space limited to 12 participants per tour. Walk-ups are welcome but space is not guaranteed. Special tours, for groups of 10 to 15, may be arranged in advance by contacting the museum. Significance of DeBraak … During the late-18th and early-19th centuries, sloops of war such as DeBraak played an increasingly important role in Royal Navy campaigns. These relatively small vessels combined speed, agility, shallow draft and increased firepower, all of which made them formidable naval vessels. As the only Royal Navy sloop of war from this time period that has been recovered anywhere in the world, DeBraak serves as an invaluable historical resource for a time when Great Britain was the world’s preeminent naval power. The surviving section of the DeBraak’s hull and its associated artifact collection have been curated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs since they were acquired by the State of Delaware in 1992. Approximately one-third of the hull survives including the keel, keelson and lower framing elements, including a large section of the starboard (right) side.
The City of Lewes is excited to present twelve great bands for the summer concert series in Stango Park for 2018. Every Tuesday evening from June 12 to August 28, there will be a free concert starting at 7:00 p.m. on the open air stage in Stango Park next to the Lewes library.
|Bob Evans Farms Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0871|
|Cafe Azafran||Lewes, DE||302-644-4446|
|China Garden||Lewes, DE||302-645-6445|
|Fish On!||Lewes, DE||302-645-9790|
|Fisherman's Wharf||Lewes, DE||302-645-8862|
|Gilligan's Waterfront Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-644-0723|
|Hing Wang Chinese Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0889|
|Irish Eyes||Lewes, DE||302-645-6888|
|JD Shuckers||Lewes, DE||302-945-8850|
|Lemon Tree Restaurant||Lewes, DE||302-645-0481|
|Mr. P Pizza & Pasta||Lewes, DE||302-645-1900|
|Pelican Grille||Lewes, DE||302-945-6620|
|Striper Bites||Lewes, DE||302-645-4657|
|Surf Bagel & Deli||Lewes, DE||302-644-1822|
|The Buttery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7755|
|The Wharf||Lewes, De||302-645-6271|
|Tijuana Taxi||Lewes, DE||302-644-8294|
|Tokyo Steakhouse||Lewes, DE||302-645-9728|
|Albert Frank's Fine Jewelry||Lewes, DE||302-645-1718|
|Aquamarine on Market||Lewes, DE||302-644-4550|
|Auntie M's Emporium||Lewes, DE||302-644-1804|
|Back Bay Art Glass, LLC||Lewes, DE||302-645-1825|
|Blooming Boutique||Lewes, DE||302-644-2463|
|Cape Henlopen Wicker||Lewes, DE||302-644-2000|
|Chatelaine's Jewelry||Lewes, DE||302-645-1511|
|Creative Concepts||Lewes, DE||302-645-6200|
|Habersham Peddler Interiors||Lewes, DE||302-645-8383|
|Heritage Antique Market||Lewes, DE||302-645-2309|
|Josephine Keir Ltd- Antiques, Fine Arts & Rugs||Lewes, DE||302-645-9047|
|Kids' Ketch||Lewes, DE||302-645-8448|
|Lewes Gourmet||Lewes, DE||302-645-1661|
|Lewes Mercantile Antique Gallery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7900|
|Mare's Bears Quilt Shop||Lewes, DE||302-644-0556|
|Mugs & Stitches||Lewes, DE||302-360-3600|
|P.U.P.S. of Lewes||Lewes, DE||302-645-9010|
|The Beach Jetty||Lewes, DE||302-645-4606|
|The Furniture Gallery||Lewes, DE||302-645-7043|
|The Soap Fairy||Lewes, DE||302-645-4596|
|The Stepping Stone||Lewes, DE||302-645-1254|
|Trader's Jewelry & Gifts||Lewes, DE||302-645-6536|
|Twila Farrell / The Figurehead||Lewes, DE||302-645-7007|
|Two Friends, Ltd.||Lewes, DE||302-644-0477|
|Very European||Lewes, DE||302-644-7778|
|Beacon Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-4888|
|Blue Water House||Lewes, DE||302-645-7832|
|Cape Henlopen Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-2828|
|Hotel Blue||Lewes, DE||302-645-4880|
|Hotel Rodney||Lewes, DE||302-645-6466|
|Inn at Canal Square||Lewes, DE||302-644-3377|
|King's Inn||Lewes, DE||302-645-6438|
|Lazy L at Willow Creek||Lewes, DE||302-644-7220|
|Red Mill Inn||Lewes, DE||302-645-9736|
|Sleep Inn & Suites||Lewes, DE||302-644-8796|
|Sleep Inn & Suites||Lewes, DE||302-645-6464|
|Vesuvio Motel||Lewes, DE||302-645-2224|
|Virden House Bed & Breakfast||Lewes, DE||302-644-4402|